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Water Science for Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia

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USGS Studies in Maryland, Delaware, and D.C.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Water Science Centers have diverse water science programs. Our programs provide groundwater data and surface water data to our cooperators and the public.

Studies being conducted by USGS include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • We operate real-time surface water quality stations in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. All of our surface water data is available real-time on our website.
  • We develop hydrological models that simulate groundwater and surface water flow regimes, and this information is used in making decisions by emergency management during floods and droughts.
  • USGS scientists assemble large sets of spatial data on land use, soils, geology, and other characteristics of the landscape.
    • These spatial data are used to investigate the relationship between landscape characteristics and flow regimes.
    • These spatial data are also used to investigate the relationship between various spatial and temporal patterns on the quality of water resources.
  • We collect and interpret water quality information to determine the occurrence, sources, transport, and fate of various contaminants, including nutrients, sediment, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
  • We also conduct studies and research on bioremediation of contaminants in aquifers and wetlands.

Our Cooperators

We carry out national programs appropriated by Congress, such as the National Water Quality Assessment Program and the Chesapeake Bay Science Program.

We work with a large number of local, State, and other Federal agencies to collect and manage data as part of investigations to address a variety of water resource and environmental issues.

We collaborate with major river basin commissions, universities, and multi-organizational programs such as the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, and the Urban Waters Initiative.

Team Study Areas

Studies within the USGS Maryland-Delaware-DC Water Science Center are divided into work teams. There are currently five work teams operating in the Maryland, Delaware, and D.C. Water Science Centers. These work teams combine similar projects and employees to encourage collaboration in project work and sharing of resources and expertise among team members. Find out more about each team by reading the descriptions below.

National and Regional Assessments Team

NRAT conducts water-quality assessments relevant to understanding and managing water resources at large watershed and larger regional scales. These assessments describe water-quality conditions in relation to hydrologic and landscape characteristics, such as land use, geology, and soils. They also identify and measure contaminants, describe their sources, distribution, changes over time, persistence, and movement in the environment.

>> View NRAT Team Site <<

View of Elk River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay
View of Elk River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

Groundwater Studies Team

The Groundwater Studies Team uses USGS National Standard techniques to monitor groundwater quantity and quality. The GS Team collects data that helps collaborators make informed decisions on groundwater resources. The GS Team also uses these data to describe and improve regional understanding of groundwater availability, particularly in terms of the effects of human activity and climate variability on the quantity and quality of water resources.

>> View GS Team Site <<

Regional drinking-water supplies rely on groundwater resources.
Regional drinking-water supplies rely on groundwater resources.

Fate and Bioremediation Team

The FAB Team conducts innovative site-specific studies on contaminant transport and fate in groundwater through the unsaturated zone and saturated zone, and on biodegradation processes that affect fate and transport. They also develop in-situ and ex-situ bioremediation methods. Their work is relevant to understanding, managing, and reducing contaminant levels in groundwater at hazardous waste sites.

>> View FAB Team Site <<

Bioaugmentation of a site with the WBC-2 microbial culture for remediation of groundwater
Bioaugmentation of a site with the WBC-2 microbial culture for remediation of groundwater.

Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Team

The WQMM Team collects and analyzes water quality in streams to assess human and natural impacts on aquatic environments. Automated continuous and discrete collection methods provide water quality data for storm, normal, and base flows. These data are then used to create models to extrapolate water quality data over time. The WQMM Team interprets these data in relation to stream processes to describe the status and trends in water quality conditions.

>> View WQMM Team Site <<

A WQMM Study Site: Paint Branch
A WQMM Study Site: Paint Branch

Surface Water Monitoring and Sediment Studies Team

The SWMSS Team conducts streamflow and surface water-quality monitoring to help address our cooperators’ needs. They conduct research to describe and improve our understanding of droughts, floods and flood hazards, as well as the effects of storm surge and inundation. The SWMSS Team also conducts research on stream dynamics, stability, restoration, and function. They conduct research on overland and in-stream sediment sources and transport.

>> View SWMSS Team Site <<

Bear Creek at Friendsville, Garrett County, Maryland
Bear Creek at Friendsville, Garrett County, Maryland.

Real-Time and Historical Data

The MD-DE-DC Water Science Center, in cooperation with County and State agencies, develop, operate, and maintain long-term and real-time networks to obtain hydrologic and water-quality data for groundwater and surface water. Historical and current real-time data include groundwater levels, surface water stage (water height) and discharge (volume of flow), and water-quality data from wells, streams, rivers, and other waterways.

These data are available through our on-line Hydrologic Networks. See the links on the left-side menu, under the headings Current Conditions, Data Center, Real-Time Data, and More Data for more information, or visit NWIS Web.

Water Data Center

Data Center includes the following information: current conditions, historical observations, daily conditions, statistics, peak flow data, and field measurements.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, October 24, 2014